The story of Troy: Local postcards reflect changes

Lori Brower (left) and Diana Brower look through postcards – including several new – at Brower's Stationers in downtown Troy. CONTRIBUTED

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Lori Brower (left) and Diana Brower look through postcards – including several new – at Brower's Stationers in downtown Troy. CONTRIBUTED

Additions to line made for 2021.

TROY — Diana Brower loves the way picture postcards tell a story.

To keep the story of Troy’s downtown, including its ever-changing Public Square and the nearby Miami County Courthouse, current, Brower and Brower Stationers this year updated the store’s picture postcard selection. The business on South Market Street is the only one to her knowledge offering local postcards in town, she said.

The 2021 update followed a summer 2013 larger project to create Troy postcards with the help of artists who were challenged to submit images. That series of cards was created specifically for use during the Gentlemen of the Road event highlighted by the concert by Mumford & Sons at Troy Memorial Stadium.

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The winning photos were a mix of professional and amateur photographers. The back of the cards included the name of the photographer whose image was used and their website.

“Those postcards have sold consistently over the past seven years,” Diana Brower said. The 2021 additions include five new images, four of downtown and one of the Courthouse.

“Troy’s Public Square has changed a great deal since 2013, and these changes have been dramatic,” said Lori Brower, Brower’s president. “Diana was re-ordering our cards, and it struck her how three-quarters of the square has been renovated since 2013 when our postcards first came out.”

For example, the Troy Community Works organization renovated the 1 E. Main St. building, once home to David’s Shoes on the Public Square and now home to Grandpa Joe’s candy store and other business on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors. The building has been painted blue to reflect use of its upper floor in the 1860s as headquarters and armory for the 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, whose soldiers wore “uniform blue” during the Civil War.

Other changes on the Square include the renovated home of Agave and Rye and its building being repainted black. That building was known for years as home to LaPiazza. The building at 121 Public Square Northeast was renovated by the Family Abuse Shelter following the January 2020 tornado. And, the Olive Oasis building on East Main Street now sports a tangerine orange color. On the square’s southeast corner Haren’s Market has redone the building at 2 E. Main.

The new Courthouse look features the Plaza Renovations project, the new plaza fountain and flowers all part of a multi-million county project.

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The postcard project led the women to an online search of other Troy postcards. The search revealed cards made in the 1950s as part of a project by former store owner Frank Bower Jr.’s mother, Diana Brower said. An artist, Diana Brower said she always had an interest in postcards.

Use of different photographers added to the diversity of the postcard images. “You get different viewpoints, different styles, different shots of the Courthouse,” she said.

The business has been in downtown since April 1944, first at 4 W. Main St. The store previously was Allen Office Supply Co. and purchased by Frank Brower Sr. He sold the business to his son, Frank Brower Jr., in 1962.

The store moved to 16 S. Market St. in 1987 after Brower bought Kerr’s Office Supply. The business was sold to Brower Jr.’s daughter, Lori, in early 2003. Brower said only two business are older than Brower’s in downtown, including the Troy Chamber of Commerce and K’s Hamburgers.

The postcards are available for online ordering and shipping at www.BrowersOnline.com.

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